Kyrgyzstan: A journey towards sustainable waste management

Waste legislation has been established and in place within Europe for over 20 years, but we are now starting to see countries further afield implementing their own extended producer responsibility legislation and programs. Valpak’s International Account Manager, Emma Trevor, looks at the beginnings of requirements in Kyrgyzstan.

Waste legislation has been established and in place within Europe for over 20 years, but we are now starting to see countries further afield implementing their own Extended Producer Responsibility legislation and programs.

While there is legislation in place which addresses waste management in the Kyrgyz Republic, a lack of financial resources and regulations surrounding production and consumption waste means that waste management in the country is still in its early stages of development. This having been said, vital steps are being taken to improve the structures and systems in place.

Solid waste management competition

Launched in July 2020, the United Nations Development Program’s solid waste management competition for Kyrgyzstan has resulted in the planned implementation of four separate projects across the capital city of Bishkek. Each project shares a joint aim to improve waste collection and management processes.

Connecting citizens with waste recyclers

The first project, and winner of the competition, is the Tazar mobile application which was created by Ainura Sagin. This platform connects citizens with waste recyclers and has two main features, the first of which is a map of collection points across Bishkek for recyclable materials including plastic, paper, glass, polyethylene, metal, organic materials, machinery, and toxic waste. The second feature, “Take my recyclable waste”, allows citizens to be rewarded with bonuses for responsible waste management.

Improving waste separation

The second project to be chosen, from almost 30 applications to the competition, was Begreen. With the goal of improving citizens’ waste separation skills, Begreen will see large bottle-shaped waste bins erected across the city. One bin has the capacity to hold up to 400 plastic bottles and it’s hoped that the mirrored aesthetic of the product itself will allow people to easily and actively engage in separate waste collection.

Educational film

The third project to be selected was Clean Village. With a focus on educating the citizens of Bishkek about the social and environmental benefits of separate waste collection, this documentary film showcases communities which already implement these systems and their consequent positive impact as well as providing solutions for the waste management issues in Kyrgyzstan.

Eco-Volunteer project

Fourth and finally is the Eco-Volunteer project. With it being estimated that approximately 50% of all waste is organic, Eco-Volunteer aims to address this by reducing the volume of organic waste by converting it into organic fertiliser. Hopefully to be implemented in Summer this year when the weather is optimal, equipment for this process is set to be installed across residential areas.

Improving solid waste infrastructure and waste management

For Osh, the second largest city in Kyrgyzstan behind Bishkek, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the European Union, and the European Investment Bank have joined to provide a €10 million financing program to improve solid waste infrastructure and waste management. The money will contribute towards the creation of a new sanitary landfill, facility upgrades and the restoration of waste collection points.

Currently, while the focus of improvement within the waste sector in Kyrgyzstan sits well within its largest cities, it is clear to see that the country is making significant progress on its journey towards more sustainable waste management.

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